Whether the subject is a hero from a Wild West story in a children’s book, or a young shepherdess girl salvaged from popular folk imagery, Mariana Ferrari’s re-appropriation of images serves to freeze visual circulation through her works. References to conventional representation are transformed and translated through Ferrari’s evocations and inventions. The resulting images are at once familiar and strange, a binary that is extended throughout the elements of each work. An intrinsic sensibility to materials means that each component is counterbalanced; pastel shades pop out from dark backgrounds, and small details that define features dissolve into heavy drips or arid brush strokes. Using gesso, acrylic and powdered chalk that she works into a pigment – Ferrari’s final images are products of a direct process that is acted out on the paper. The nature of these materials provides a necessity to work quickly, to alter the relationships between texture/colour and content/effect, and allows each work to become as much about its own alchemy as about the subject it presents.

Ferrari’s scenes of figures enveloped by their surroundings demonstrate influences drawn from artists Fragonard and Francois Boucher in terms of the balance of colour, light and motion that emerge from muted backgrounds. Through her large-scale paintings, Ferrari is bringing the Rococo into contemporary times, and in doing so is challenging, or even dismissing, its reputation as saccharine and delicate.

‘Fragile’ could easily be a word used to refer to the work of Rita Flores, but almost immediately it is taken back as we realise that these objects that appear to be moulded smoothly and delicately by candid hands, are, in fact, in need of a more powerful title. Within these works exists the proposition of a faultless security through the power of a simple gesture, much like the tension held by a fine thread. Flores, ceramicist and sculptor, manages to manifest that which is gentle, and yet with a striking determination, that which is free and random. The influence of her native landscape of Posadas, Misiones (in the far north-east of Argentina) drives Flores to confront us with the essence of her materials which she throws into a bare existence; simple, sober and free from perversion. Through her work, Flores presents us with a theory inspired by stripped back landscapes, where the gentle and the gesture prevail.

Created in Germany for the purpose of religious music, the bandoneon arrived in Argentina clasped in the adventurous hands of sailors and immigrants. From across the seas, the melancholy sound of the bandoneon aligned itself with the tormenting songs of the mermaids that pierced the journeys of the daring pioneers en route to the Americas. Evangelising popular taste, the bandoneon became lord and master of the unique echo of Rio-Platanese tango. Transcending from that remote epoch is a deep resonance, that is framed on this occasion by the interpretation of Bernardo Ferreyro. Performing as a soloist, Ferreyra presents us with adaptations of Prelude in D Minor and Two-Part Invention in E Minor by J.S. Bach, Agua y Vino by Egberto Gismonti and Le Valse des Mostres, a piece composed for the bandoneon by Yann Tiersen, all to seduce us and allow us to lose ourselves in an ocean of treble and bass.

Originally from New Orleans, Liza Puglia trained at culinary institutes in New York and is now living and working in Buenos Aires. Here she has brought together her global influences in her work as a private chef as well as a writer documenting her experiences and recipes on her website. Whilst studying at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, a course in Chines Element Theory brought Puglia to an understanding of interactions and relationships between phenomena which she applies to her cuisine. Puglia believes in using the purest ingredients in order for people to achieve happiness through what they eat. For her, the higher the quality, the better of a culinary experience, the more positive energy that’s produced.

Professor of Anthropology, Norma Costas presents a talk, ‘THE CHALLENGE OF LIBERTY’ which draws on ideas taken from authors and philosophers such as Hegel, Eric Fromm and JP Sartre. Considering ideas surrounding the dialectic of master and slave, the fear of being free, the need to make decisions (and likewise the need to make mistakes) Costas will consider the essentials of freedom in light of artistic creation. As Hegel said, “the history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness”.

- Laura Códega & Kat Sapera
May 2012